We’re halfway through Fresher’s Week, and it’s going by fast! There is so much to see and do. This week is a mixture of orientation classes and other events organized by the student union. Monday wasn’t super busy for me, so I did some grocery shopping and washed my socks. It is super expensive to use the washer here (€4!) so I have been hand washing instead for smaller clothing items. One more reason I am liking my handicapped room is that the extra railings in the bathroom serve as great drying racks. Other than that, I went to school late afternoon for the provost’s welcome to Trinity speech, which ended up being pretty short and mostly a repeat of what I have been hearing for the past two weeks, but there were free gourmet doughnuts afterwards, so it was worth the trip.
Tuesday I didn’t have any orientation classes, so I went to school to check out the different societies they had set up in the square. Each society (club) has a stand and tries to convince you to become a member. They prompt people with free food, coupons, random items, and anything else to advertise their club. It only costs around €3 to join a society, and your membership lasts the entire time you’re in college. I joined the modern language society (classes for different language, movie screenings, get togethers, etc.), the Hispanic society (do language exchanges, take food/dance classes, movie screenings, etc.), and the food and drink society (food events and tours around Dublin, classes, etc.). Tomorrow I’ll probably join the international student society (takes trips to different parts of Dublin), the computer science society, and the French society. I don’t want to overload myself, but it is so hard to choose! I know so many people who have signed up for a crazy amount of societies, but I guess as time goes on we can weed out the ones we want to stay in. One of my roommates tried to convince me to sign up for all the water sports societies, but I don’t think water polo and wakeboarding are really up my ally. Rugby is also a very popular society to join; my French roommate played it as a kid and tried to explain it to me, but it still sounds very confusing.
I have become much more familiar with using the transportation systems since I have to use them to get around. I can either take the bus or the Luas (tram system) to school, and they both take about thirty minutes depending on peak time and traffic. I usually prefer the bus, because I can sit down and it’s usually less crowded, and the Luas tends to make me a little motion sick. However, I’ll take the Luas if I want to walk down Grafton street to get to school. The bus is good to take if I need to stop for grocery or other items. I also walk every now and then; it takes about 50 minutes to get to school. If the weather is nice it’s a good time to listen to music and discover more of the city.
My roommates and I have been getting along really well. We are rarely all home together, but when we are we chat and learn about ourselves. The Irish accent isn’t too hard to understand (except those people from Cork; theirs are really strong), but the Irish tend to speak really fast, even for a fast talker like me. Sometimes my French roommate and I will look at each other and shrug because we simply can’t understand what the others are saying. It’s especially hard in a loud place with a lot of background noise, and I’m constantly asking people to repeat themselves. However, I was talking to this one girl from Brussels, and she thought I sounded Irish and was surprised to find out that I was from Texas. I guess everyone is trying to get used to the new culture and language here.
My roommates and I also talk about our past school experiences. School systems in Ireland are different than back in the states. To graduate from secondary school (high school) you have to pass a final exam to earn a leaving certificate, and the leaving certificate score determines which schools you can get into. My roommates have described it as basically an exam that decides your future, and they find it hard to believe that we don’t have something similar. I tried to explain transcripts, final exams, and the SAT, but it all sounded pretty confusing to them. School isn’t the only thing that is different. My roommates were shocked that I had to drive to school every day and couldn’t take a bus or other form of transportation.
Cooking has been a fun, although sometimes experimental, experience. I have become a master at stir fry. A couple nights ago my French roommate and I combined some of our ingredients made a mixed salad for dinner. We wanted to put some boiled eggs in the salad, but for some reason the eggs wouldn’t boil. We left them on the stove for like twenty minutes on high heat, but they ended up still being really soft. They kind of fell apart and oozed into the salad, but we were to lazy to do anything about it and it actually ended up tasting really good. We also found out that our Irish roommates have never had tacos (one of them even had her first burrito yesterday), so we are going to have a Mexican food night sometime soon.
This evening I am going to one of my American friend’s apartments and we are going to make curry soup, perfect for this drizzly weather. (Although the past two days have been unbelievably sunny; who knew it could be hot in Dublin?) Gotta go find some silverware to take with me, so I’ll write sometime later!